الجار قبل الدار
“The Neighbour before the House” is a series of video probes into the landscape of East Jerusalem. Shot with a security camera, these images show that before and after instrumental "surveillance", there is inquisitiveness, jest, memory, desire and doubt that pervades the project of watching. In these specific times and places, camera movements and live commentary become ways in which Palestinian residents evaluate what can be seen, and speak about the nature of their distance from others.
A text by Florian Schneider:
When the Israeli government demolished the Moroccan Quarter in 1967, it was the fifth and smallest of old Jerusalem's neighbourhoods. Private property was converted into public space: the former Moroccan Quarter is now a large open plaza leading up to the Western Wall, in use as an open-air synagogue.
At first glance, the idea of a neighbourhood appears as the most obvious contradiction to the series of displacements, deferrals, distortions and fault lines existing on the surface of this highly volatile, contested and segmented city.
Neighbours are supposed to know each other. The neighbourhood is that part of the otherwise anonymous cityscape, where one is recognised, or where the subject is hailed. Neighbours can encounter each other without technical mediation; they meet and greet face to face, everything is within walking distance; Such a more or less homogenous local environment is ruled by specific circumstances that are characterised precisely by the fact that they are not globally valid, that are not exchangeable or even communicable. It is grounded in the production of a self that claims the right to the given territory: to be exactly and exclusively here, often as a result of ownership or property.
But this idealised notion of a setting and the staging for the production of ‘everyday life’ on the threshold of public and private space, needs to be governed by an archaic rule that prevents the self from selfishness: watch out for the neighbour and "love him or her as yourself!" The Golden Rule of ethical reciprocity and fair play – -doing as one would be done by – treats the neighbour as the "other", who then becomes universal. The homogenisation of a local environment as a ‘neighbourhood’ then correlates with the moral purification of a community, a people, or humankind.
What we can see in the video project Al Jaar Qabla al Daar, is a neighbourhood in a state of permanent crisis. Spatial proximity does not produce any sense of community, but does the opposite. What was private space becomes public; what was private life becomes political. Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar sets out to reverse engineer the neighbourhood as a machine for self-monitoring and surveillance, one that normally turns contingency into consistency and the visible into the sensible. Here the neighbourhood can only be encountered through a technological device that produces closeness and remoteness, which would otherwise remain entirely abstract. The constant zooming in and zooming out of the camera constitutes a rather peculiar artificiality of the picture: operational by a factor X that multiplies the amount of detailed information at the price of context. This is a regime of visibility that promises to provide access to what would otherwise, and in the true sense of the word, be inaccessible, since one would not be allowed to go there, or know how to understand what is going on.
The results are profane and deconsecrated icons that map lost properties as robbed and removed social relationships. And this is everything but self-explanatory: one needs a speech that goes against the grain of the all too obvious status quo. A speech that reads out the secrets of dispossession and renders every property decipherable as an appropriation; that is twisted and oblique, but nevertheless takes place in the first person.
It is the iconic quality of the pictures, their status as operational images, that marks the impossibility to make "a film" in the first place. The neighbourhood is scattered and inaccessible, the neighbour is turning out to be a monster. Going beyond the technical misuse of surveillance technologies, the filming methods open up to new potentials: a house becomes a support for a camera, a sort of tripod built from stones. The petrified position of the camera only allows movements on a fragile surface of the image. It is not possible to change the perspective and switch from one self to another.
There is an unforeseeable and incalculable quality of the material itself: the self-centeredness of the picture does not pretend to include or exclude anything or anyone; it can be virtually anywhere. It opens up a third realm that is neither subjective nor objective, a space which may be characterised by a new, radical form of hospitality that could allow us to escape the discourses of property, security and paranoia.
A first edited collection of footage from the project was exhibited at the Jerusalem Show, Jerusalem/ Al Quds in October 2009.
with: Ashok Sukumaran, Nida Ghouse, Mahmoud Jiddah, Shereen Barakat and Mahasen Nasser-Eldin
Curated by Jack Persekian and Nina Montmann
Produced with the support of Al Mamal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem.
Many thanks to : Abu Hassan, Ashraf Bakri, Darwish Kurd, Hovsep Nalbandian, Maali Adris, and Mohamed Saleh, Khadijeh Kanambo and Jumana Aboud for invaluable help with their time, technical resources, and spirit.
If Jerusalem is the capital of both Israel and Palestine, and on the eve of Netanyahu's visit to a historically Palestine-friendly India, we bring you two films with surprising images and voices...
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar
Screening and discussion with Ashok Sukumaran and Shaina Anand
New Museum Theater
الجار قبل الدار (Al jaar qabla al dar) The neighbour before the house
A new project by CAMP
at the Jerusalem Show
October 11 to October 20
6pm - 9 pm
Old City, Jerusalem
الجار قبل الدار (Al jaar qabla al dar)
Screening of CAMP's Jerusalem project, followed by a talk.
The International Academy of Art Palestine.
October 15 2009
7:30 - 9:30 pm
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (The neighbour before the house)
is part of
The Matter Within
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
October 15 2011 - January 29 2012
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar
at Volte Gallery, Mumbai
as part of
Your Name is Different Here curated by Nancy Adajania
December 3 2011 - January 5 2012
The second segment of FILAMENT starts tomorrow, Tuesday, July 9, with CAMP's film, Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (The Neighbour Before the House), 2009-11.
The work will be on view until Friday, 12 July with three shows daily at 2pm, 4pm & 6pm.
2/1 Hindusthan Road, Kolkata 700029
A 72-minute film resulting from a video project shot in Jerusalem/ Al Quds with eight palestinian families, from and around their homes. Screenings are every 90 minutes starting 10 am, the last screening is at 8 pm. At Bait Al Serkal, Upto May 7, 2011.
Opening Show of the Palestinian Museum
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar
الجار قبل الدار
The Neighbour Before The House
Works in Palestine by Basma Al Sharif and CAMP
at Cinema Project, Portland
November 8th, 2013
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (The Neighbour before the House)
Two films by CAMP
Workshop, screening and exhibition as part of India Film Week, Trondheim, Norway
October 4-9, 2011
"The Neighbour Before the House deals with the effects and narrative remainders of a (warfare) technology and proposes a method of witnessing, a witness machine."
A roof-top that has been active for ten years.
A never-ending project housed at CAMP around peoples histories of Bombay-Mumbai.
A space we built and run with others, located in the R and R colony of Lallubhai Compound, Mumbai.
Save the Dates!
A project of listening, including with our ears, to some materials that seem to not touch us directly, but make up our "environment".
60 minute film produced with the National Coastwatch Institution, Folkestone, Kent, UK.
showing at the NCI cabin at Copt Point (10:30 am - 5:00 pm) and in pubs in Folkestone harbour,
as part of the Folkestone Triennial upto September 25, 2011.
Saturday or Sunday evening screenings through winter, exploring footage both within and outside the usual capsule of "the film". An experience that could be similar to watching films, or at other times harder to digest, or slower to release, closer to the moment of shooting, less censorious, and less fearful of finitude. Another life, another world of viewing and listening experiences is always possible.
CAMP is involved in a 2-year "print-from-web" project, linked to its own investigations of the infrastructures of commerce and pleasure in this part of London. As part of the first "block study", we looked at several buildings and their ownership and use histories, and produced a series of tablemats.
The web-based part of the project resides at http://edgwareroad.org. This website collects materials from various such "studies", conducted by us and others, which then are collaboratively edited and published in a number of physical forms: volumes, pamphlets and placemats. This is an ongoing project, as part of the Serpentine Gallery's Public Program.
Ashok and Azeer spent some time thinking about and building the CAMP terrace roof structure, built in late 2009. Some of the designs that were sketched out are further below: a big requirement was some retractability, i.e. the ability to have a shading roof in the day but to have it open/ partially open at night, for things like screenings under the stars.